feeding a western hognose

Updated April 12, 2022

Here is some information on feeding practices. Please be sure to check out our article on "Hogs n' Treats" which can be found on our website under the "Care Information" drop-down.

What size of prey should I be feeding? A general rule of thumb is to feed a prey item that is only slightly larger than the widest part of the animal’s body.

When / How to size the prey up If the next size of prey is too large, but the size they are currently is not adequate, it is better to feed two smaller prey items to achieve the right size, rather than one big one. By feeding this way you are less likely to cause regurgitation, and it will be easier for your pet to digest.

How often should I feed? When we are weaning our babies for their first 10 consecutive meals of frozen-thawed, non-scented, we feed once every 5 days. We feed our females on that same schedule that need to recover weight after egg laying. Otherwise, we feed once every 7 days.

Overfeeding We prefer feeding once every 7 days as Western Hognoses are very prone to obesity and all too often in captivity far exceed their natural weight. Do not feed your animal more just because it appears to be still hungry. Western Hognoses are opportunistic feeders. In the wild, they have a small percentage of successful hunts, this is why they have the hunger drive to continue eating. If you indulge in this you will likely be over-feeding them and have a high chance of causing regurgitation, which can cause health complications such as broken ribs.

Your Western Hognose should never have “jowls” or seem to have little to no neck. This is a sign that you are overfeeding. Another sign of obesity is seeing wide-scale separation. Gravid (carrying) females often have this and that is an exception.

Powerfeeding It is an act where the keeper intentionally over-feeds regularly in hopes that the animal will grow faster thus reaching a pseudo "ready to breed" state earlier than if the animal had steady natural growth. Unfortunately, power feeding is all too common in the reptile hobby/industry. It puts unnecessary stress on the animal’s body, which can lead to health complications such as fatty liver disease. It prioritizes the owner’s wants over the well-being of their animals, thus it is seen as an unethical practice.

*Note These are not hard rules, there are always exceptions.

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